So a deal is there and it looks more likely to pass than TMay’s one

October 17th, 2019

Now it is up to the Commons and the meaningful vote


Post Democratic debate polling finds Klobuchar and Buttigieg getting the biggest ratings boost

October 17th, 2019


My 760/1 bet on Amy starting to look less of a loser

A couple of weeks ago on the Betfair exchange’s WH2020 winner market I noticed that there was £8 available at 760/1 on the Minnesota Senator and contender for the nomination, Amy Klobuchar who so far has had a fairly quiet race.

My view than was that anybody in the running and qualifying to take part in the next debate should have been on tighter odds than that and I made the bet. There are still three and a half months to go before the Iowa Caucuses which kick off the primary season.

Well in this week’s debate she came out well getting a fair bit of attention and demonstrating that she’s clearly capable of holding her own. As can be seen in the table above from the Fivethirtyeight/Ipsos post debate poll she saw the biggest improvement in her net favourability ratings.

She’s yet to reach the qualification threshold for the November debate but if this latest Ipsos polling is on the right track then she could see the movement that will get her over the line.

Second in the net favourability increase was 37 year old Mayor Pete who also had a very good debate. He’s sharpened up considerably.

Currently the top three in the nomination betting – Sanders/Biden/Warren – are in their seventies whilst Trump, who is heavy favourite to secure the Republican nomination is at 73 and also in that age range. I’m betting that the winner of WH2020 will be a lot younger.

A big negative ove Amy Klobuchar is that she’s said to have a furious temper and is terrible boss. If she continues to make progress that will become a bigger issue.

Mike Smithson


Another female Jewish MP is hounded out of Labour

October 16th, 2019

Why is it that the haters go for the women?

Incidents like this and the failure of the party under Corbyn to deal with it are a big reason, I’d suggest, behind the poor voting intention numbers and his disastrous record negative leader ratings.

If you plot Labour’s decline since GE2017 there was a turning point in March 2008 when the story of Corbyn and the antisemitic mural emerged. The party dropped sharply and from a period when it was in the low 40s or late 30s it is now down to barely half the share it chalked up two and a half years ago.

For some reason it is female Jewish LAB MPs who appear to be the target. Maybe the social media warriors hiding behind their anonymity feel emboldened to pursue the course they do.

A serious party leader would have taken firm action and shown real leadership. Corbyn didn’t.

Quite where it goes from here it is hard to say while the incumbent clings onto his job.

Louise Ellman’s letter above is totally damning but, no doubt, Jezza swill stay.

Mike Smithson


Elizabeth Warren drop to below 50% in the betting after the latest Democratic debate

October 16th, 2019

Betfair market tracked by Betdata.io

The big event in US politics overnight has been the latest Democratic TV debate and having now just caught up with it this was the best so far. It was great political TV and there has been some impact in the betting.

Favourite Warren has now slipped below a 50% chance after being on 54% within the past few days. Inevitably as front runner she was the focus of attacks by other contenders of who there was a total of 12. Such a number should have been unmanageable but it worked.

Warren’s achilles heel is that while she strongly advocates a universal healthcare plan she won’t explain where the money is coming from. The Oxford-educated Pete Buttiegeg did himself a power of good in attacking Warren on this point and made her position even less explicable.

Bernie was back in fine form after his heart attack last week. It seems to have done nothing impede his approach.

I thought Mayor Pete did himself the most good and he’s now clear third favourite in the betting. I agree with Robert’s thread earlier today about how he could pull off a shock result in Iowa on February 3rd coming perhaps in the top two.  He’s certainly the strongest contender under the age of 70.


Mike Smithson


As the Brexit negotiations reach a critical point the latest YouGov trackers has “Brexit wrong” with 5% lead

October 16th, 2019

The voting intentions in the same YouGov poll.

A GE constituency poll

Mike Smithson


Mayor Pete’s The One To Beat

October 16th, 2019

Iowa. Iowa. Iowa.

I keep repeating it, because it’s important. The winner (and potentially the runner up) in Iowa define the primary process. After Obama won Iowa in 2008, he saw his national polling pop more than twenty points. In a crowded a Democratic field in need of much culling, the winner’s pop could be even greater. (Simply: there are a lot of 2% candidates whose supporters will need to find new homes after they get null delegates in Iowa.)

And what’s going on in Iowa?

Well, in the last couple of days we’ve seen a couple of polls and they show one candidate surging. And that candidate’s not Elizabeth Warren.

First there was a YouGov poll last week (where the fieldwork started before Bernie’s heart attack) and that showed:

Biden 22% (-7%)
Warren 22% (+5%)
Sanders 21% (-5%)
Buttigieg 14% (+7%)

And then yesterday there was a Firehouse/Optimus poll:

Warren 25% (+2%)
Biden 22% (-1%)
Buttigieg 17% (+10%)
Sanders 5% (-6%)

The pattern from both this polls is the same: Warren and Buttigieg are on the rise while the old white men are in decline. If Sanders really is polling in single digits in a primary he won in 2016, then he will surely leave the race post Iowa.

Now, one of the curious things about Iowa is how it works. The 15% bar at the precinct level means that it is almost like an alternative vote system. Say you turn up to vote for Harris (and sit through prepared remarks and discussions for a couple of hours in a draughty church hall), but it’s clear that she won’t make the 15% mark, and your vote will be wasted… Well, then you look around for your second choice, and see if they’re well represented.

This is where organisation matters. This is retail politics at its finest. Successful candidates’ organisers cajole and persuade the newly undecided to join their groupings.

Three candidates, I would forecast, will leave Iowa with meaningful numbers of delegates: Warren, Biden and Buttigieg. The polling has Buttigieg as being very transfer friendly, which will benefit him. He also has by far the most built up ground organisation in Iowa (with Warren a little behind, and then Biden a long way behind). In many rural counties, there’s a Buttigieg office, and that’s it.

This means that Buttigieg will, I suspect outperform his poll ratings. And I suspect Biden will continue to fade. Sanders is out the race. He just doesn’t realise it yet.

So, what does that mean for Iowa? I think the delegates split something like:

Warren 40%
Buttigieg 40%
Biden 20%

(Yes, I know the numbers seem high relative to polling. That’s because most of the candidates will get zero delegates and those voters have to go somewhere.)

This means that the 15 on Buttigieg on Betfair to be the Democratic nominee is too skinny; ditto the 29 on 2020 President.

(PBers should know that I will be visiting Iowa for the first time next month. I will make sure I share my findings.)

Robert Smithson


As Johnson edges towards to the 11pm Brexit deadline the betting money’s still on a pre-Brexit general election

October 15th, 2019

Chart of Betfair movements from betdata.io

On a day when so much seems to be changing on a Brexit dale there has not been as much betting movement as you might have thought. Still the view is that Brexit’s not going to happen immediately and not before a new general election.

Tonight is just the first hurdle. If there is a draft deal that will have to be agreed by the EU27 at their meeting later in the week. And then if we have got that far Johnson will have to take it to the House of Commons at the special Saturday sitting.

From what is emerging Johnson appears to be ready to make huge concessions including having the Irish Sea as the border something that TMay turned down. I wonder if she will participate in Saturday’s debate.

Mike Smithson


“Honouring” the referendum should apply to not just to the outcome but what the official Leave campaign said

October 15th, 2019

Things are different now the country’s being led by Cummings/Johnson

Lots of talk at moment about “honouring the Referendum”. Fair enough.

Those who espouse that seem to look to the result itself rather than the promises and assertions made my the official Leave campaign in the run up to the June 23rd 2016 vote.

It was harder to make this argument when TMay was PM for she had not been responsible for what Vote Leave said.

Since Johnson became PM and recruited Cummings as his lead aide then there should be less excuse for not following the statements that the campaign was making. They should be accountable not just for their actions now but for all that Vote Leave said during the campaign. This is what they were responsible for and what helped voters to make up their minds.

So any deal needs to be judged against their assertions at the time.

Mike Smithson